Much thanks to James Everington for nominating me for this prestigious award. I feel that each member of the Abominable Gentlemen is potentially the Next Big Thing, though that might be a bit too tame a description for the horrors we plan to unleash upon an unsuspecting world. Maybe the Next Originator of an Extinction Level Event Proceeding Not Only Into the Future but Also Into the Past Reducing the Entire Fourth Dimension to a Single Point of Eternal Pain... Award.
What's the working title of your next book?
The Giant's Dolls
Where did the idea for the book come from?
It was inspired by the combination of a prompt and a theory. The prompt I found in the job ads years ago. The ad was for a hair stylist to work at an American Girl store. If you don't know, American Girl sell very upscale dolls, and the idea is for little girls to be able to make a doll that looks and dresses just like themselves. I guess a part of that is giving the doll the little girl's hairstyle. I just thought of how weird that would be, to go to school to cut people's hair, and then to end up cutting doll hair for rich children.
I mashed that up with a theory that I have that serial killers are the least interesting villains (yes, it goes beyond opinion to theory because I am able to talk for a long time about it). I think that evil is acting with a lack of empathy. By that definition, serial killers are pure evil, as they are sociopaths incapable of feeling empathy. Boring. What's interesting is a normal person pushed to act without empathy. Road rage. Reaction to a family member getting hurt. Racism or any other sort of prejudice that leads to the creation of an other who can be viewed as less than human and thus hurt guiltlessly. Normal people committing evil acts and what drives them to those acts, that's interesting. Understanding how you could be driven to the same extreme point and thus finding the evil inside yourself, the primate only capable of naturally empathizing with a pack of a hundred, but forced to interact with that many new people every day. That's interesting.
Serial killers? Boooooooring. There's no way to connect on an emotional level. ("Oh, but he's got a really cool theme. He cuts off their pinky toes and sews them into--" "SHUT UP!")
So I wanted to tell a serial killer story where the serial killer was not only the least interesting but least important part, and the people on the periphery are made central to the story, and their fascinating stories draw the reader in.
What genre does the book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The doll stylist would be played by Ellen Page,
the day nurse by Catherine Keener,
the night nurse by Ben Foster,
the giant is a tough one, because there aren't a lot of guys with both the size and the chops to play the role. Though Tyler Mane isn't quite bulky enough, his costume could be padded, and he's just the right height, and he's a talented actor. His portrayal of Michael Myers in the mental institution in the Rob Zombie reboot is pretty close to what I'm thinking. Imagine Michael Myers creating dolls instead of paper mache masks.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This novella should end up being published by DarkFuse, unless they don't like it. My deadline is coming up soon, but I'm trying to get a second novella written so that they can have their choice.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About a month. Basically October 2012.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't compare it to anything within the horror genre because I've never read a horror novel-in-stories. The book has four perspective characters, but they aren't cycled around. Each character has one section. Except for the first, they can't stand on their own, and there is a story arc, which is why I would describe it as a novella-in-stories rather than a collection of connected stories. Trailerpark by Russell Banks would be a good comparison.
My initial literary inspiration was Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, especially given that one of the perspective characters is mentally disabled. However, I chose not to go with first person but a close third, so it's not nearly as challenging a read.
Before long I realized I was telling a story a lot like the movie The Dead Girl (not the zombie movie, but the amazing Brittany Murphy movie). I think the writer/director Karen Moncrieff must feel the same way about serial killers that I do.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, besides the inspirations listed above, there's the fact that I get the feeling that Shane Staley and Greg Gifune at DarkFuse enjoy my literary leanings, so I wanted to give them something a little less mainstream than The Hoard. I feel like The Hoard succeeds on both the level of a thriller and a character-driven book, but I wanted to give them something really different. Then, being a neurotic, I worried that The Giant's Dolls is TOO different, so I'm writing as fast as I can (which is the exact same pace of 1000-2000 words a day I always write) on a back-up novella.
What else about this book might pique people's interest?
I'm 99% sure it will be printed on legal tender.
Who's the Next Big Thing?
I think everyone knows it's the hardest working man in poebiz, Barry Napier.
Here's a review of The Hoard from the fine people at Turning the Pages: "I was so engrossed in reading this book that I was able to finish reading it in one night."